Shopping "made in Germany"
The heart and soul of a German town lies in its city center: The downtown pedestrian zone, a car-free shopping street lined on both sides with shops and department stores.
Probably the liveliest place on a Saturday in Germany, a stroll down a shopping street means much more than merely buying things: dotted with cafes, ice cream parlors, and restaurants, churches, theaters, and old town squares, German shopping streets are a great taste of German life.
Shopping made in Germany is a wonderful experience.
Here is an overview of the most popular and liveliest shopping streets in Germany:
Frankfurt: shopping street Zeil
The premier place to shop in Frankfurt is the shopping street Zeil, especially the area between Konstablerwache and Hauptwache.
Also called "The Fifth Avenue" of Germany, this shopping street offers everything from chic boutiques, to international department chains for the discerning shopper.
Don't miss the Zeil Galerie, a 10 floor shopping center, which is famous for its spiral shaped interior and a viewing platform that offers the best views of Frankfurt.
On the adjacent Goethestraße, you can drop some serious cash (or do some wishful window shopping) at world class jewelers, international designers, or gourmet restaurants.
Munich: Kaufinger- and Sendlingerstraße
Shopaholics get their fix in Munich's city center; start your shopping spree at Marienplatz, in the heart of Munich's Old Town.
For foodies, the large open-air market Viktualienmarkt is a must-see and must-taste. On the adjacent Kaufingerstraße, you can buy clothes, books, jewelry, and shoes, all the way till you reach the medieval city gate Karlstor.
Sendlinger Straße also starts at Marienplatz and is home to many family-run retailing and specialty shops. The street is a great place to hunt for arts and crafts, or a Dirndl (a traditional Bavarian costume), and to try some Bavarian treats after a long shopping day.
Dusseldorf: fashion boulevard Königsalee
Without doubt the fashion capital of Germany. Dusseldorf has been setting trends since the days of the Electors in the 18th century. The modern era kicked off in 1949 with a street fashion show on the Königsallee, also affectionately known as the "Kö”. This was then followed by the huge fashion and footwear trade shows that made the city a hotbed of international design.
Stroll around and enjoy the exclusive ambience of this renowned boulevard with its exquisite designer-label boutiques and shopping arcades, stopping off for a delicious treat in one of the cafés.
Berlin: the elegant Kurfürstendamm
The Kurfürstendamm, or simply Ku'damm, is Berlin's most popular shopping street. The 2 mile long boulevard is packed with international shops (Zara, H&M, Mango, Esprit), hotels, restaurants, and movie theatres, which still advertise their program with hand painted film posters.
KaDeWe, the biggest department store in Continental Europe, where you get everything from designer labels, to jewelry, and cosmetics; don't miss the legendary gourmet department, located on the top floor.
Make sure to promenade through the quiet side streets of the Ku'damm, such as Fasanenstraße, where you find beautiful townhouses, cozy cafés, art galleries, and antique stores.
Cologne: old tradition on Schildergasse
The pedestrian zone in the city center of Cologne, called Schildergasse, is the busiest shopping street in Europe; with nearly 13,000 people passing through every hour, it even makes London's Oxford Street take second place.
The Schildergasse boasts international department stores and modern architecture, but the street has a long history; it dates back to ancient Roman times and was open for business in the Middle Ages.